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Sweet Home Alabama: Wilder Defending on Home Turf

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SWEET HOME(COMING) ALABAMA!

UNDEFEATED DEONTAY WILDER TO DEFEND
HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD TITLE AGAINST ERIC MOLINA
ON SATURDAY, JUNE 13, LIVE ON SHOWTIME®

FROM BARTOW ARENA IN BIRMINGHAM, ALA.

Tickets Are On Sale Now!

ALL ACCESS: Deontay Wilder Premieres June 3 On SHOWTIME

Birmingham, Ala. (May 14, 2015) – Undefeated Heavyweight World Champion Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder (33-0, 32 KOs), of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will make the first defense of his title when he faces Eric “Drummer Boy” Molina (23-2, 17 KOs), of Raymondville, Texas, in the main event of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® on Saturday, June 13, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

In the co-feature, undefeated Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza (19-0, 12 KOs), of Caguas, Puerto Rico, will be opposed by Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KOs), of Klimovski, Russia, in a 12-rounder for the vacant IBF Junior Lightweight World Championship.

The 6-foot-7 Wilder captured the heavyweight world championship with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision over defending titleholder Bermane Stiverne on Jan. 17 on SHOWTIME. It was the first time the hard-hitting Wilder, 29, had fought more than four full rounds and the only time in his seven-year career that one of his fights went to the judges. By winning, he became the first undefeated American to win a heavyweight title since Michael Moorer in 1994.

Molina, a 6-foot-5 southpaw, possesses punching power that commands respect and makes him a dangerous proposition for any opponent. He has won five in a row, three straight by knockout, including an eighth-round TKO over Raphael Zumbano Love on the Wilder-Stiverne undercard. If triumphant, the aggressive-minded 32-year-old would become the first Mexican-American heavyweight world champion.

Tickets for the event, which is promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Bruno Event Team are on sale now. Tickets start at only $25 with the best seats in the house going for $200. VIP packages are also available. To purchase tickets fans should visit alabamatitlefight.com. Tickets are selling fast and a sellout is anticipated.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to defend my heavyweight championship in my home state,’’ Wilder said. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“It was one of my dreams to win a world title. This was my other dream to be able to defend it before all my fans in Alabama. I can’t wait until fight night to step into the ring and see the whole state coming out to support me.”

“I remember just a few months ago watching Deontay get ready for the biggest fight of his life,” Molina said. “I thought to myself, ‘someday, that’ll be me.’ I stared with envy not knowing that a few months later I’d get my turn.

“Winning the heavyweight world championship is my dream. Just as it was Deontay’s dream, it’s mine now. He had his turn, though it will be short-lived. I will become the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion. Guaranteed. So, champ, come prepared for war. I’m coming to kick some ass.”

“Deontay Wilder is the first American to hold a heavyweight championship in years and one of the most exciting fighters in the division. His homecoming in Birmingham will be electric,’’ promoter Lou DiBella said. “The opening bout will be Jose Pedraza’s opportunity to establish himself as Puerto Rico’s next champion and a rising star. It will be a great night of boxing on SHOWTIME.’’

“We are excited to work with DiBella Entertainment to bring the first ever heavyweight boxing championship to the State of Alabama,” said Gene Hallman, president and CEO of Bruno Event Team, a nationwide leader in sports event management. “Alabama’s Deontay Wilder always puts on a show, so we expect the arena to sell out for this world heavyweight championship.”

“Deontay made an emphatic statement with his performance in January that he is one of the current and future stars of this sport, and we’re thrilled to welcome him back to SHOWTIME for his first title defense, ” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President & General Manager SHOWTIME Sports. “But we all know that one punch can change everything in the heavyweight division and Eric Molina will be coming to Alabama to prove just that.”

ALL ACCESS: Deontay Wilder, which chronicles the champion’s Jan. 24 homecoming parade in Tuscaloosa and his preparation for the upcoming title defense, premieres on Wednesday, June 3 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Wilder, the first United States-born heavyweight champion since Shannon Briggs won the WBO belt in November 2006, was born and raised in Tuscaloosa. He’s fought in Alabama five times, although the bout on the campus of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will mark the first occasion he’s fought outside of Tuscaloosa (four times) or Mobile (once). This will be the first fight in his home state since August 2012.

Wilder started boxing at the age of 21 after his daughter Naieya (pronounced nie-EE-ya) was born with spina bifida. Despite his late start in boxing, Wilder would go on to represent the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games, where he won a bronze medal. He is the last American male boxer to medal in the Olympics.

Until going the distance against Stiverne, Wilder hadn’t come close to putting in a full night’s work since turning pro in November 2008. The then-virtually untested slugger had fought a total of 58 rounds, an average of 1.8 rounds per outing. He’s registered 18 knockouts in the first round, eight in the second.

Molina, who resides in Weslaco, Texas, is a big slugger, rugged and strong. He has good skills and movement and, like Wilder, got a belated start in boxing but has had only two defeats as a professional.

“The Drummer Boy” is on a roll, coming off five consecutive victories. Molina’s matchup with Wilder will be his first shot at a world title.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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